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Irish Hare(Giorria Éireannach)-: There are two types of hare found in Ireland - the Brown Hare and the Irish Hare. The Brown Hare came to Ireland from Europe, while the Irish Hare or Blue Hare is native to this country.The blue hare is also found in parts of Scandinavia and Scotland. The Irish Hare is small and does not have a white winter coat. It differs from the brown hare in its stocky build, short ears and white tail.  Hares look like rabbits, but are much larger and look taller.  The Irish Hare, also known as the Blue Hare, can measure up to 56cm and can weigh 3.5 Kg.  Hares are known to have good eyesight and can run very fast, which helps them to avoid their enemies. The Irish Hare is found in all counties of Ireland.  The resting place of a hare is called a form, which are ovals of flatten vegetation on the ground. 

Unlike rabbits they normally do not burrow. In order to get food they must leave their home You can see the hare out during the day, but most often they can be spotted at night as they look for food.  They eat mainly grasses and vegetation and are known to use their large front teeth to gnaw at young tree shoots. Hares breed  throughout the year, but they  are more likely to breed during the Spring. 

The saying ‘as mad as a March hare’ refers to the antics of the male hare during the breeding seasons.  Each hare tries to impress the female hares, hoping that they will be picked as her partner, over other hares in the area. A female hare can have more than one litter per year. Each litter can have two or three young hares.  A young hare is called a leveret.  The female will spread her litter between several forms, and visit each one to feed her young. Because their numbers are low they do not cause much damage to crops or trees. They sometimes can cause damage to young forest plantations by nibbling the tops off young trees, but a good fence around them willl usually keep them out.

The number of hares in Ireland is small and are a protected animal under the Wildlife Act of  1976. 0

Ian Daly